The erstwhile Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, has told an Australian radio station that he wishes he had stuck with DOCTOR WHO longer than just one series.
Eccleston said to Melbourne, Australia’s 774 ABC: “It was kind of tragic for me, that I didn’t play him for longer. He’s a beautiful character, and I have a great deal of professional pride and had I done a second season, there would have been a marked improvement in my performance. I was learning new skills, in terms of playing light comedy. I was not known for light comedy and, again, production did not allow for that.”
The Ninth Doctor gave way to the 10th (David Tennant) after just 13 episodes in the 2005 revival. The parting of the ways was attributed to “creative differences,” and in the years since, both Eccleston and his executive producer, Russell T Davies, had declined to elaborate — until last year, when the actor began dropping cryptic little comments that, when assembled, gave some insight into the reasoning that led to his early departure.
One of my favorite gags on DOCTOR WHO this season came in “Under the Lake,” in which we learned that Clara (Jenna Coleman) has given the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) flash cards with sensible phrases on them to remind him how to speak to “regular” folk who are frightened/confused by whatever horrible situation they find themselves in.
I thought it was hilarious the way he begrudgingly used them to address the base crew. He was like a grumpy husband forced to go apple-picking instead of being allowed to stay home and watch the game.
Among the funniest phrases: “It was my fault, I should have known you didn’t live in Aberdeen.” Clara clearly slipped that one in for herself, after he left her there on a coffee run last season.
With Jenna Coleman‘s Clara now gone from the TARDIS, the Doctor needs a new companion… So with whom would the 12th Doctor himself, Peter Capaldi, like to share the console room?
He spoke to RadioTimes.com about it:
“I think it’s nice to have someone who’s light-hearted and fun. And I think it’s good that the Doctor can be quite dark, sometimes, but you need someone to draw him out of that, and also to throw that into contrast. So someone who can run, scream and be quite glamorous — glamorous in any demanding situation.’
“I’ve always loved what [previous executive producer Russell T Davies] did with Billie Piper, because you hadn’t really had in DOCTOR WHO a very clear working-class voice. And I liked how Billie was very clearly someone who lived on an estate, and was a normal person. Which, in a way, the show hadn’t really done that before. It was of its time, in the sense that everyone spoke standard English, and it didn’t always reflect the real world. So I always like it when they have companions who reflect the real world – which Jenna does, because she’s from Blackpool. You can’t get more real-world than Blackpool!”
DOCTOR WHO fans are not the only ones who will be fidgeting while waiting for series 10 to hit the air — the 12th Doctor himself, Peter Capaldi is itching to get into his third series as well, saying:
“Next year’s a different thing, and it’s quite interesting and challenging, and scary. I’ve only done two series, but I’m amazed at how fast it’s gone. I’ve done 26 episodes now, you know. And every time you’ve got through a season, and you’ve discovered all these things about this new Doctor, it’s sort of scrapped and you start again. You have to come to it afresh and find new things — but that’s quite challenging and interesting. So I’m fascinated to know where we’re going to go. Because in some ways [the Doctor is] much more amenable, but in other ways he’s even darker. So I think that makes for a very interesting character.”
Titan Comics will be releasing some oddball (in a good way) variant covers for its various officially licensed Doctor Who comics shipping in January and February, drawn by an artist who goes by the name Question No. 6.
The titles are:
DOCTOR WHO: TENTH DOCTOR #2.6
In stores Jan. 13
Cover C by Question No. 6
DOCTOR WHO: ELEVENTH DOCTOR #2.6
In stores Feb. 3
Cover C by Question No. 6
DOCTOR WHO: TWELFTH DOCTOR #2.2
In stores Jan. 13
Cover D by Question No. 6
It’s no secret that showrunner Steven Moffat really loves the annual DOCTOR WHO Christmas specials, so bringing back the Doctor’s wife, River Song (Alex Kingston), and pairing her up with his latest incarnation must have been even more fun for the Grand Moff than usual.
He teased this year’s special:
“We’ve shot that one with the 12th Doctor. That’s been a riot to do. And that’s been sort of a big fun chase episode, really. Just Mr. and Mrs. Who battling their way past nonsense, and that’s been great fun. They’re lovely together; they are. Alex is always great value. It’s time we saw her back being a kick-ass hero instead of playing mums and sisters and all that. It’s a waste of her.”
The official BBC tease of the special:
It’s Christmas Day in the future and the TARDIS is parked on a snowy village street, covered in icicles, awaiting its next adventure. Time traveler River Song meets her husband’s new incarnation, in the form of Peter Capaldi, for the first time this Christmas.
The as-yet untitled 2015 Christmas special will air on… (wait for it…) Christmas Day on BBC America.
The Doctor and River Song are forever meeting each other in the wrong order — and now it’s time for the 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) to run into his wife at a strange time, when he crosses time streams with River (Alex Kingston) in this year’s DOCTOR WHO Christmas special.
But this time, the Doctor has the advantage — because she doesn’t recognize his 12th face!
“That’s how the Christmas special begins,” showrunner Steven Moffat told the London Doctor Who Festival. “She doesn’t know it’s him! It’s an opportunity for the Doctor to find out the terrible truth: What his wife gets up to when he’s not looking. No one should ever go through that!”
Moffat added: “The last time the Doctor saw her she was a ghost. The first time he met her, she died. So how can he be seeing her again? As ever, with the most complicated relationship in the universe, it’s a matter of time …”
GAME OF THRONES star Natalie Dormer has said she would consider playing a female version of the Doctor if DOCTOR WHO ever decided to change the gender of its star Time Lord — but only provided the script is there.
While doing press for her current film, The Huger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Dormer said:
“For me it’s always about the script. It has to be real human beings, contradictory, flawed, complex, multidimensional characters. It can’t just be concept, you know? ‘Female James Bond’ — CONCEPT. It has to have quality in the writing of real human psychology.”
I applaud Dormer for being all about the script. So far, 90 percent of those advocating changing the Doctor to female all line up behind the idea “Why not?” Since it’s possible, those fans believe the show should change the Doctor’s gender. But to me, doing it just because the show can smacks as the very definition of a “gimmick.” Just doing it for the novelty would be short-term ratings bait.
I believe there needs to be a reason to do it that goes beyond “It’s a great gimmick.” What’s the story? Why does the Doctor need to be female?
I am all for Dormer portraying a Time Lady — but does she have to become the Doctor? How about a new character? She could be a rival or friend of the Doctor from university. (That certainly was an interesting class they had — the Doctor, the Master and the Rani all in the same year? Wow.
One thing is certain: Dormer would look terrific in the period clothing the Doctor usually wears…
Romana and Romana II
With the end of the ninth season of DOCTOR WHO approaching — as well the imminent departure of Clara (Jenna Coleman) — a lot of folks think it’s time to shake the trees and talk about turning the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) into a woman for his next incarnation.
During the DOCTOR WHO panel at London’s Comic-Con, executive producer and lead writer Steven Moffat was asked if the Doctor could regenerate into a woman. He replied:
“Yes [Long applause]. But there is no vacancy. I’m being really explicit in my answer here because I gave this answer once in San Diego. I was asked if the Doctor could ever be a woman and I said ‘I think there’s a subtext in the show, maybe you should read it.’ And I turned and gestured to Michelle Gomez sitting next to me as Missy, and everyone laughed. This was reported, widely, as me saying the Doctor would never be a woman. So let me just make this very, very clear: There is no vacancy, and it may never happen. However artistically it could work. Commercially, the audience would go with it, we’ve proven that with Missy. And that’s why we did it, frankly. Yes, it can happen. It doesn’t need to happen, but it can, absolutely.”
The final two episodes of this season of DOCTOR WHO — “Heaven Sent” and “Hell Bent” — will run longer than the standard 45-minute episodes in England, with “Hell Bent” adding a whole 20 minutes! “Heaven Sent” will boast about 10 minutes more than usual.
BBC America has not released any information about the run times of the final two episodes here in America, where stories are typically trimmed to make room for commercials.
“Heaven Sent” will premiere on Nov. 28, and “Hell Bent” wraps up series 9 on Dec. 5.
“Hell Bent” will be the longest episode of DOCTOR WHO since Peter Capaldi’s debut story, “Deep Breath,” which ran 76 minutes.